The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/17



Q. The only reason, therefore, why you were pointing this
out was that you were considering the 35-cm. guns used in
the King George class by the British Admiralty?

A. Yes, it was the aim of every navy at that time to know as
early as possible which was the largest calibre of guns
being used by other navies. I said yesterday that, to start
with, we had chosen as a model the French Dunkerque type,
but later on we discovered that the British had advanced to
35.6 cm.

Ships have to be used, if war breaks out, in their actual
state, their gun calibre cannot be changed any more.
Therefore we always went as high as possible.

Q. Would I be right, therefore - please excuse me - if I
said that the expression "against Great Britain" in this
connection is not correct, and that a correct translation
would have been "with reference to"?

A. Yes, it should have said "with reference to England." I
said yesterday that it would have been quite senseless if I
were to do something against Great Britain before the
conclusion of the pact.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, that was fully gone into in
cross-examination, and the defendant stated his explanation
of the words used.

                                                  [Page 241]


Q. From Document C-190, which is the conversation on 2nd
November, 1934, aboard the Emden between you and Hitler, Sir
David put it to you that Hitler, in a discussion with you
and Goering, said that he considered the expansion of the
Navy as planned to be an absolutely vital necessity, since
war could not be conducted unless the Navy safeguarded the
ore imports from Scandinavia. It was said that this would
have to be understood to mean that the Navy was planned in
view of a war and in view of safeguarding the ore imports,
which really meant aggressive intentions. Are you of the
opinion that the British Navy was not planned to safeguard
imports to England or for the event of war and was not
equipped accordingly?

A. No, there is not the slightest doubt about that.

Q. Six submarines are mentioned in this document.
Considering that figure, may I ask you to tell me the number
of submarines that Germany would have needed in order to
conduct an aggressive war?

A. Well, at any rate, many more than we had in October,
1939; a multiple of that.

DR. SIEMERS: From a document, Mr. President, which was
submitted yesterday, D-806, I want to quote, in addition to
the second paragraph which has been quoted, the first
paragraph, and to put it to the witness. It is D-806,
Exhibit GB 462, submitted yesterday at noon.


Q. There it says, "Reference: Submarine Construction
Programme. On 27th October, 1936, decision made regarding
the full utilization of the still available U-boat tonnage
according to the Naval Agreement of 1935 and regarding the
immediate ordering of the construction of U-41 to U-51."

Were these the rest of the submarines within the 45 per cent
limit to which we were entitled according to the Naval
Agreement of 1935?

A. Yes, that is right, judging from the figures.

Q. And then, Grand Admiral, you have been very thoroughly
questioned about Austria and Czechoslovakia. Since that
subject has been gone into in detail, I shall confine myself
to just one question: Did you, at any time, receive any
tasks or orders of a foreign political nature from Hitler?
Did he ask you for your advice in foreign political matters?

A. I was never asked for advice, and I had no foreign
political tasks, unless you consider the duties which I had
to fulfil in Bulgaria and Hungary after my resignation of a
foreign political nature.

Q. Regarding what was left of Czechoslovakia, you were asked
whether Hitler had aggressive intentions against Prague at
that time. I think the question ought to have been whether
his intentions were for an aggressive war.

In connection with that, you have been asked about Goering's
threat to bombard Prague, and you quite rightly admitted
that such a bombing would be a threat. Sir David, of course,
cited it as being near to aggressive war, but in order to be
quite clear, I want you to tell the Tribunal when you
learned of this planned bombing.

A. Only after the whole matter had been settled, and only in
a conversation. I heard no announcement and I knew nothing
else of it beforehand.

Q. So you knew nothing of it before the occupation of

A. No, because military undertakings against Prague were
altogether unknown to me.

DR. SIEMERS: Then there is the Document C-100. Mr.
President, it was presented yesterday as Exhibit GB 464.

THE PRESIDENT: 463, I have got it.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon; 463.

                                                  [Page 242]


Q. From that document I want to quote to you from Page 10.
It is Page 3 of the attached document. I want to put the
following sentence to you:

  "Fuehrer asked OBdM whether there were any special wishes
  of the Navy with reference to bases on Dutch-Belgian
  Coast. OBdM says, 'no', since bases are within reach of
  British coast and are therefore useless as submarine

Was it your opinion that -

THE PRESIDENT: Where, exactly, are you reading from? Your
pages are not the same as ours. With reference to the Roman
numerals, for instance, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe quoted from
paragraph IV in Roman numeral.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg to apologise, Mr. President, but the
German photostat copy is very difficult to read. The first
part of my copy consists of seven pages, and then there is
an attached document regarding the report to the Fuehrer on
10th of November, 1939.

THE PRESIDENT: You have got Roman numerals in it, have you
not? Have you not got the passage that Sir David read,
paragraph IV, Roman numeral?

DR. SIEMERS: I cannot see any Roman numerals here, I am
afraid, but I will have a look at the English text.

THE PRESIDENT: It is in the English text. It is on Page 5,
No. IV: It goes as follows:

   "1st Possibility:
   The decision of the Fuehrer is made in favour of a
   Western offensive, beginning very shortly, within the
   framework of the instructions - "

DR. SIEMERS: Apparently, Mr. President, Major Elwyn Jones is
right. He says that the part which I have just been reading
was not contained in the English translation, but it is part
of the photostat copy of the original. The English
translation only contains the first part of the document,
and not that, report to the Fuehrer
Of 20th November, 1939.

THE PRESIDENT: You had better read it then.

DR. SIEMERS: Very well. It is figure 6 of the attached

  "Fuehrer asks Commander-in-Chief Navy (OBdM) whether
  special wishes of Navy exist regarding bases on Dutch-
  Belgian coast. Commander-in-Chief Navy says 'no' since
  bases are within reach of the British coast and are
  therefore useless as submarine bases."


Q. According to this, witness, you were not in favour of an
occupation of Belgian and Dutch bases, nor did you in any
way make this question your business.

A. This was always my point of view, that, from the
experience of the First World War, Belgium and Holland, as
far as the Navy was concerned, could not offer any useful
bases, since all would be within easy reach of the British
Air Force. In the First World War definitely serious
fighting occurred between the submarines leaving their ports
and destroyers stationed nearby. Therefore I declared myself
not to be interested in Belgium and Holland.

Q. Passing various documents, I now come to D-843, GB 466.
This is a document in which Dr. Brauer from the Oslo Embassy
expresses the view that the danger of a British occupation
of Norway was not really very great, and that certain
actions were only taken in order to provoke Germany.

I have one more question on that. Did the embassy in Oslo,
that is to say Brauer, know about the information that
Admiral Canaris was supplying to you?

A. I cannot tell you that. I was never in direct contact
with Dr. Brauer, only with the naval attache; but I must add
that Dr. Brauer had only been in Oslo for a comparatively
short period, and that apparently he was not particularly
well informed. Also, statements made by Norwegian ministers
were not properly appreciated by him.

                                                  [Page 243]

Q. Was there not an order from Hitler that the Foreign
Office should not be informed regarding plans concerning

A. Yes, he expressly ordered that, and apparently for that
same reason the Reich Foreign Minister himself was informed
very late.

Q. In other words, as far as you can see, the ambassador
could not have had Canaris's information through military

A. No, hardly.

Q. Then there were two documents, D-844 and D-845. It was
put to you from those that there was no danger in
Scandinavia. Was the information that you received at the
time different?

A. Yes. I had continuous information -

THE PRESIDENT: All this was gone into yesterday, and the
witness gave the same answer.

DR. SIEMERS: I believe that the following has never been
mentioned before.


Q. Did you know whether as early as 5th April mines had been
laid in the territorial waters off Norway?

A. The Allies, had announced it on 7th April, but the actual
operations must have taken place a few days earlier.

Q. Grand Admiral, yesterday -

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): Dr. Siemers, the only purpose
of re-examination is to bring out matters which are
favourable to your client and which have not been raised in
cross-examination, that is to say, to explain anything which
has not been given in cross-examination. When he has given
this account in cross-examination it is no good putting it
to him again in re-examination. We have heard it.

DR. SIEMERS: I think that on this particular point one
explanation is missing.

BY DR. SIEMERS: Yesterday, you were asked rather
unexpectedly what had been the technical development since
1936, and how the legal situation regarding submarine
warfare would have been influenced thereby. This is a
somewhat difficult question, and it is hard to answer it in
two seconds. You have mentioned aircraft. Cannot you
supplement your statement?

A. Yes, in truth, I forgot the most important point due to
the fact that there was a rather lively controversy. The
important point is that the spotting of vessels at sea by
aircraft was something quite new and had been developed very
efficiently. That development continued very rapidly during
the war, until submarines could very quickly be located and

Q. Regarding D-841, which is the affidavit from Dietmann,
may I, with the Tribunal's permission, make a formal
application? In this affidavit, there is the following

THE PRESIDENT: Dietmann, you mean?

DR. SIEMERS: Exhibit GB 474.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dietmann's affidavit.

DR. SIEMERS: Yes, Dietmann's affidavit. There is the
sentence, the last sentence which was read yesterday:-

  "It is my personal opinion that the higher authorities of
  the Navy in Kiel and other places in Germany had
  knowledge of these dreadful things."

THE PRESIDENT: It is not "had knowledge" but "must have had
knowledge". It seems to me it is in the translation "must
have had knowledge".

DR. SIEMERS: Yes. I have not got the German and I do not
know how the original is worded. I only have the English
translation. It is not quite clear to me how the German
version was worded. May I ask the Tribunal -

                                                  [Page 244]

THE PRESIDENT: Is the document put in in the original German
or is it put in in the English? The deposition is in German

DR. SIEMERS: I presume that originally the statement was in
German. The copy I have states that this is a translation
and that is English, but I have not seen the German

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, there must have been a
German copy for the witness yesterday. I do not know whether
or not it is the original. I did not see it but I assume it

THE PRESIDENT: It is not the case that the deposition was
made in German, then translated into English and then
translated back into German, is it?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that is why I assume it was
the original. I am sorry it was made. I have not got the
original document in front of me but I assume that was so. I
will find out in a moment for you.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. What is the point, Dr. Siemers?

DR. SIEMERS: I believe that this sentence should be struck
from the document. It does not record a fact.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean, you are asking to have it struck
out or -


THE PRESIDENT: What do you say, Sir David?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the witness sets out fully
the facts in the preceding paragraphs of the affidavit and
then it is true that he introduces the sentence: "By my
personal opinion - " but the gist of the statement is that
from these facts which I have stated " - the higher
formations of the Navy in Kiel and in other places in
Germany must have had knowledge of these terrible
conditions." A man who has been working in that detachment
of the German Navy and knows the communications between that
detachment and the head-quarters, is in a position to say
whether headquarters would have knowledge of the facts he
has stated. His inference has a greater probative value than
the inference which the Tribunal can draw. The objection to
the statement of a matter of opinion is where the witness
gives his opinion on a matter on which the Court is equally
capable of drawing an opinion from the same facts, but the
importance of that statement is that he is saying "working
there and being familiar with the chain of command and
communications." I say that anyone at Kiel must have been
able to learn from these facts what was going on at these
places-so that is the narrow point, whether his special
knowledge entitles him to express a view which the Tribunal,
without that special knowledge, would not be in a position
to draw.

THE PRESIDENT: But ought he not theoretically to state all
the facts and if he does state all the facts, then the
Tribunal will be in the same position as he is, to form a
judgement, and it is for the Tribunal to form the judgement.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that is exactly the point
to which I was addressing my argument, that there is the
additional fact, that because he was working there, was part
of the chain of naval command and he is speaking of the
knowledge of the naval command from the point of view of
somebody who was working in it, and, therefore, he has on
that point his opinion as to the sources of knowledge; and
the necessity of constructive knowledge is an additional

My Lord, the state of a man's mind and the expression of his
knowledge may be a fact in certain circumstances, just as
much a fact as it is stated, as Lord Bowen once put it.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, if the state of his knowledge is
directly relevant to an issue.

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